Louis Moss, a 12-year-old schoolboy from Chipping Norton, has been awarded a scholarship to play the organ at Jesus College, Oxford.
Thanks to funding from Jesus College alumni and the Dr Martin Clarke Young Organ Scholars' Trust (YOST), Louis will become the youngest person to play the organ for an Oxford college. He is one of only 750 young people now thought to be learning the organ in the UK.
Louis, who attends the Cotswold School, began playing the piano aged six and took up the organ just over a year ago. He has already started to assist the musicians in the Jesus College organ loft and will start to play hymns for services in the spring.
Louis said: 'It is great to play such an amazing instrument. I am looking forward to improving further through my organ scholarship at Jesus College.'
The Principal of Jesus College, Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt, said: 'We are delighted to have Louis with us. By starting a young music scholarship scheme here – the first of its kind in an Oxford or Cambridge college – we are creating more opportunities to connect local state schools with Jesus College, through music. And by beginning this project in conjunction with YOST we are helping gifted young people to have the chance to play the organ when they couldn’t have dreamt of it before.'
Dr Samina Khan, Oxford University's Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach, said: 'We are excited by innovations like this, which open up opportunities to those from state schools. Oxford University works closely with local schools on a range of schemes to help support curriculum enrichment and young people's engagement with the University.'
There are around 6,000 organists in Britain, both professional and amateur, although a rapid decline in numbers over the past decade has led to a decline in live organ music. It is hoped that 200 new Young Organ Scholarships will be funded throughout the UK in the next five years.